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Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.

Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.


Printers Are in Consumers’ Blind Spots

I can’t remember why I asked my friend Phyllis where she gets her business cards printed, but it turns out she goes to Staples. Phyllis is a mortgage attorney who has her own business.

That led me to ask if she’d ever heard of some of the online printers, like Vistaprint or 48hourprint. Nope. Nada. She didn’t know what I was talking about.

There’s such a widespread lack of knowledge—let alone appreciation—among consumers when it comes to printing. It’s been this way ever since I started in the business over two decades ago, and I think it’s never going to change.

Now that so much content has gone digital (Did you know that 12 percent of U.S. households have at least one eReader?), it’s less and less likely that consumers will develop any appreciation of what it takes to put ink on paper.

So I started to tell Phyllis about online printer sites, and how you can order all kinds of printed materials for your business (and family) 24/7. She was dumbstruck.

It’s not that I’m against Staples’ Print & Copy Centers. I just can’t help myself when telling someone how to get things printed. Oh, the choices!

Opportunities for online printers are endless, it seems to me. Prospects include:
  • Small business owners.
  • Independent professionals like Phyllis.
  • Associations.
  • Professionals in transition (i.e., between jobs) who need not just business cards, but also letter-perfect resumes and portfolios.
  • New college graduates looking for their first jobs.
  • Middle-aged entrepreneurs following their dreams and launching a second career.
  • Tutors and dog-walkers, aspiring actors and personal trainers.

In my mind, every businessperson and independent professional could use personal printed materials. Online printers are the natural go-to resource, but so are small commercial printers—if they have Web-to-print capabilities.

P.S.—I discovered that Vistaprint was one of the sponsors of the national Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando this past weekend. Not just any sponsor, either—it was at the Platinum level. How interesting is that?

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